Entries in Funeral (11)


Janet Jackson Demands Retraction from "Vanity Fair" for Claims She Delayed Michael’s Funeral

Steve Granitz/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- An attorney for Janet Jackson says a story published in Vanity Fair that claims Janet refused to let her brother Michael’s funeral take place until the late King of Pop’s estate reimbursed her for the $40,000 deposit she made to secure a burial plot at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Calif. is “false and defamatory.”

In a letter addressed to Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter, Jackson attorney Blair Brown demands the magazine “retract its statement that Ms. Jackson ‘refused’ to let Michael Jackson’s funeral take place until the money she put down as a deposit on his burial plot was repaid.”

Brown insists that Vanity Fair publish a retraction explaining that the statement is false, and also demands that the magazine “contact all other media and websites that have re-published Vanity Fair’s false statement and inform them of its retraction and its corrective statement."

In her letter to Vanity Fair, Brown says the article “is replete with additional false and defamatory statements regarding Ms. Jackson.”

The article in Vanity Fair’s November 2012 issue is an excerpt from author Randall Sullivan’s upcoming book, Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park on Sept. 3, 2009, more than two months after his death.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Private Funeral Held for Tony Scott

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Friends and family remembered the late director Tony Scott last Friday at a private funeral in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter. further reports that Scott's brother, director Ridley Scott, was among those in attendance.

Scott took his own life by jumping off a bridge the previous Sunday.  A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County coroner's office tells The Hollywood Reporter the 68-year-old Top Gun director left behind two suicide notes -- one inside his car, another in his office -- but neither shed any light on why he decided to commit suicide.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Funeral Set for Bee Gees' Robin Gibb

Frank Hoensch/Getty Images(LONDON) --  A private funeral for Robin Gibb will be held on Friday, June 8, in the United Kingdom, the Bee Gees singer's family has announced. A public memorial for Gibb will be scheduled sometime later this year.

The Gibb family have also asked that in lieu of sending flowers, fans should donate to one of two children's charities the pop singer championed, located on Britain's Isle of Man -- the Rebecca House hospice and Wish Upon a Dream.  In addition, those wanting to share memories or tribute messages can post them on the comments section of

 Robin passed away on May 20 due to complications from his battle with cancer and an intestinal ailment.  He was 62.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Kevin Costner on Houston’s Funeral, His Song for Fallen Soldiers

Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It has been almost two months since Kevin Costner eulogized his friend and co-star in “The Bodyguard” Whitney Houston, but only recently did he reveal that only after he was asked to speak at her funeral was he able to find the words to match his emotions.

“The way we work now, everyone needs to talk about it and people certainly wanted me to talk about it and I didn’t really have the words at that point,” Costner told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer. “Dionne Warwick called me and said, ‘would you speak?’And I could feel how broken she was and how tired she was, and I said that I would. I think the moment I said I would, I went ‘Oh my God. What have I just done?’ Because, that’s such a specific moment and to so many people and I’m thinking … why am I speaking? Why am I there?”


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In his speech, Costner remembered Houston as someone who shared the same interests and values. Both grew up in the Baptist church, a bond he said they shared over the years of their friendship.

Costner recalled Houston’s nervousness when she had to do a screen test for the role of singer Rachel Marron in the movie.

“The Whitney I knew was still wondering if I’m good enough. Am I pretty enough? Will they like me?” he said. “It was what made her great, and what caused her to stumble at the end.”

Costner told Sawyer that he was relieved when he finished speaking, but had one regret.

“I didn’t even go over to Whitney’s mom and everyone else went over and hugged her and I kind of went as quickly as I could to my wife and thought, man, I did that wrong,” he said. “I should have just gone over to Whitney’s mom. … I wish I could have done it differently. I wish I had gone over and given her a hug.”

Costner is now lending his words to another meaningful ceremony on April 14, helping dedicate a memorial in honor of the soldiers from the 11th  Aviation Command in Fort Knox, Ky., who were killed in the war on terror.

For the last seven years Costner has performed with his country band, Modern West, and their song, “The Angels Came Down,” struck a chord with military families who lost loved ones in the line of duty. Costner will be speaking at the event on Saturday where the song will be dedicated to all military families.

“While the song is about this last moment of a soldier’s life, it’s really a song for the living because if you’ve ever lost anybody or known anybody you’re clearly haunted by that last moment of wondering if your lost one was alone, if they were frightened, or you know if anyone was with my son,” Costner said. “This loss of a child, a husband, a daughter — we know that a song can’t heal that but … ‘When the Angels Came Down,’ that’s what we like to think, that when our loved one was suffering the most that angels covered them, taking away their fear, and took away the pain. And if we can live with that idea, I think we can all sleep a little better.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bobby Brown Performs on Stage after Whitney Funeral

Sandra Rose/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Just hours after the funeral of his ex-wife Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown was on the Mohegan Sun Arena stage, resplendent in white jacket, black vest, black pants and a black hat, performing with New Edition for a cheering crowd.

Brown thanked the crowd for keeping his spirits up.

“Blessings to my ex-wife, Whitney Houston. I love you,” he said, and pointed his finger in the air.

Brown left Whitney Houston’s funeral at Newark, N.J.’s New Hope Baptist Church shortly after the service began on Saturday.

In a statement put out by his representative, he explained, “My children and I were invited to the funeral of my ex-wife Whitney Houston.  We were seated by security and then subsequently asked to move on three separate occasions.

“I fail to understand why security treated my family this way and continue to ask us and no one else to move,” he said.  “Security then prevented me from attempting to see my daughter Bobbi-Kristina. In light of the events, I gave a kiss to the casket of my ex-wife and departed as I refused to create a scene. My children are completely distraught over the events. This was a day to honor Whitney. I doubt Whitney would have wanted this to occur. I will continue to pay my respects to my ex-wife the best way I know how.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Kevin Costner Remembers His Friend Whitney Houston

RDA/Getty Images(NEWARK, N.J.) -- Kevin Costner’s tribute to Whitney Houston at her funeral played out like a Hollywood blockbuster: It made them laugh, cry, stand up, and cheer. He shared many anecdotes about Houston in his nearly 20-minute long speech, the most touching of which was probably recounting how he fought for her to be in their movie, The Bodyguard.

“I thought she was the perfect choice but the red flags came out immediately,” he said. “I was reminded that this would be her first acting role. You could also think about another singer, was the suggestion — maybe somebody white. Nobody ever said it out loud, but it was a fair question, it was. There would be a lot riding on this. Maybe a more experienced actor was the way to go.”

“I told everyone that I had taken notice that Whitney was black,” Costner said. “The only problem was that I thought she was perfect for what we were trying to do.”

He ended up postponing the movie for a year so that Houston could wrap up her tour and star in it. But once filming started, Costner said, her insecurities took over.

“Arguably the biggest pop star in the world didn’t think she was good enough,” he said, recounting tears on the set as Houston questioned her makeup and voice.

“Whitney, if you could hear me now, I would tell you, you weren’t just good enough, you were great,” he said. “You sang the whole damn song without a band. You made the picture what it was. A lot of leading men could’ve played my part … but you, Whitney, I truly believe you were the only one who could’ve played Rachel Marron at that time. You weren’t just pretty; you were as beautiful as a woman could be. And people didn’t just like you Whitney, they loved you.”

He offered advice on behalf of Houston to her daughter and millions of other aspiring singers.

“To you, Bobbi Kristina, and to all those young girls who are dreaming that dream, thinking that maybe they aren’t good enough, I think Whitney would tell you, guard your bodies,” he said. “And guard the precious miracle of your own life. Then sing your hearts out. ”

He choked up towards the end. “Off you go Whitney, off you go,” he said. “Escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly father. When you sing before him, don’t you worry. You’ll be good enough.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stars To Attend Houston's Homegoing Service

Kevin Winter/WireImage(NEWARK, N.J.) -- Whitney Houston’s casket arrived at Newark, N.J.’s New Hope Baptist Church today while mourners began streaming into the church in preparation for the star’s 12 p.m. funeral.

The singer will be buried Sunday in Westfield N.J.’s Fairview Cemetery. She will be laid to rest next to her father, John Russell Houston, who died in 2003. Media will be able to start setting up at 6 a.m. Sunday and arrangements for street closures have been made.

The Saturday event will be a “going home service,” which is more upbeat than a traditional funeral.

On Friday night, members of Houston’s family and inner circle were seen getting out of gold limousines for a private viewing at a funeral home. Among them were Bobbi Kristina, Cissy Houston and Clive Davis.

Houston’s ex-husband, Bobby Brown, is expected to attend. Brown performed in Maryland Thursday night and is scheduled to perform in Connecticut following the Saturday service.

He was by the side of his daughter with Houston, Bobbi Kristina, for much of this week. She was hospitalized for stress and anxiety after Houston’s Feb. 11 death.

“My daughter Bobbi Kristina is doing much better,” Brown said in an email statement to Tuesday. “We continue to provide love and support to Bobbi Kristina. She is dealing with the tragedy of her mother’s death and would prefer to do it outside of the public eye. I ask again that our privacy be respected.”

One of Houston’s family members told ABC News that while many people in the family don’t want Brown to attend the funeral, they can’t stop him because of his connection with Bobbi

Houston’s record producer from the start of her career, Clive Davis, will speak also eulogize the singer.

New Jersey’s Star-Ledger reported that Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby will attend, along with the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Others confirmed on the guest list are Chaka Khan, Bebe and CeCe Winans, songwriter Diane Warren, pop singer Darlene Love, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Brandy and Ray J, the singer Houston was rumored to be in a relationship with before her death on Saturday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Etta James’ Funeral: Christina Aguilera, Stevie Wonder Pay Tribute

Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Hundreds of friends, family and some famous faces paid tribute to legendary singer Etta James Saturday at the City of Refuge church outside Los Angeles.

Christina Aguilera sang an incredible rendition of one of James’ best known hits, “At Last.”

“There’s a line in this song that says, ‘I found a dream that I could speak to,’” said Aguilera. “And for me, that dream all my life has been Etta James. I’ve aspired to sing like her, to be like her, to emulate her notes and her passion and the love for what she did—I could feel it. Out of all the singers I’ve ever heard, she was the one that cut right to my soul and spoke to me.”

Stevie Wonder performed his song “Shelter in the Rain,” a harmonica solo, and led mourners in a rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Rev. Al Sharpton eulogized James, quoting a statement from President Barack Obama, “Etta will be remembered for her legendary voice and her contributions to our nation’s musical heritage.”

Sharpton called James a “bridge over troubled water.”

James was buried after the service at Inglewood Park Cemetery.

James died from complications of leukemia. She had been diagnosed with chronic leukemia in January 2011. Court records show the 73-year-old entertainer also suffered from dementia and kidney failure.

Throughout her career, James released 30 albums and 58 singles. She explored the musical genres of gospel, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and jazz.

James was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and 2008.

In 2003, James received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She was awarded six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards, and was named No. 22 on Rolling Stones’ 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Heavy D's Funeral: Obama Sends Letter of Condolence

JIM RUYMEN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Rapper Heavy D, who was known for his free-flowing, playful hip-hop style, was remembered by family and friends -- and President Obama -- in a funeral service held Friday in New York.

Last week, the 44-year-old rapper collapsed outside his Beverly Hills, Calif., condominium.

He was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital, where he was pronounced dead on Nov. 8.

"We extend our heartfelt condolences at this difficult time. He will be remembered for his infectious optimism and many contributions to American music. Please know that you and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers," the president wrote in a letter, which the Rev. Al Sharpton read at the service.

Singers such as Diddy and Usher attended the service held at the Grace Baptist Church in Heavy D's hometown of Mount Vernon, N.Y.

Heavy D was returning from a mall at around 11:30 a.m. and was climbing a set of stairs at his condominium when he experienced trouble breathing, according to the condo staff, who tried to help him to his home.

Ed Winters, a spokesman for the LA County coroner's office, told ABC News last week that medication for flu-like symptoms were found in Heavy D's home, although Winters declined to name the medication. He said no illegal drugs were found.

Born Dwight Arrington Myers in Jamaica, Heavy D was the youngest of six children. His mother Eulahlee, a nurse, and father Clifford, a film technician, moved the family to Mount Vernon, N.Y., when he was young.

Heavy D seemed poised for a comeback before his unexpected death.

Last month the rapper, known as the "overweight lover," turned up on the BET Hip-Hop Awards, his first live appearance in 15 years.

At 6 feet 3, Heavy D once weighed more than 300 pounds, but in 2005 he shed 160 pounds for the lead role in the Hollywood stage production Medal of Honor Rag, produced by Will Smith.

In September, he digitally released his ninth and final album, Love Opus.

He also made a cameo in Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller's new movie, Tower Heist, as his focus had shifted in recent years to TV and movie appearances.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Russell Armstrong Funeral Held in Hollywood Hills

Michael Kovac/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- A funeral was held Thursday in Hollywood Hills for Russell Armstrong, the estranged husband of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Taylor Armstrong.

Russell Armstrong committed suicide earlier this month.

Entertainment Tonight reports some cast members of the Bravo series joined family and friends for the service at the Church of the Hills-Forest Lawn. Bravo reportedly did not film the funeral.

Armstrong's remains will be sent to Texas for a second funeral, at the request of his family. His body is expected to be cremated.

Bravo has said it is re-editing the upcoming second season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills due to Armstrong's death.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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